This song... "Slow Motion" is a journey. Literal and figurative. There are moments in your life that feel more like a dream than reality. This was such a time.
In the summer of 2019, pre-COVID (remember that?), I drove up with Matt Anthony to join a small bunch of songwriter friends in Maine for a writing retreat.
Incessant, heavy rain battered the car for hours on the congested highway north from NYC. I tried to manage the playlist and conversation wanting to keep things mellow and stress-free for Matt who was doing all the driving (I am a pathetic native New Yorker who drives only if absolutely necessary - meaning all other possible drivers are unconscious!). If Matt was stressed, he never let it show. There were times when we could barely see the cars ahead of us through the punishing sheets of rain. Just glittering, blurry taillights. So, we talked and sang along with the radio, and talked and sang, and talked and sang...
The rain finally abated, hunger called and we pulled off in Portsmouth, NH for dinner. I had never been to Portsmouth and had no idea how gorgeous it is! After dinner, Matt and I decided to take a quick walk around this New England post-card perfect town.
Outside of the restaurant, I asked a patron where we could find the water. He told me to fallow the Northstar and pointed to the sky. I said, "thank you Peter Pan" and then laughed that I had actually uttered those words. Everything felt dreamlike. A massive paper-white full moon glowed magically over the Piscataqua River. Everything was so serene and unreal, I wondered out loud if we had actually died on the rainy road in this town was heaven. Just like some weird sci-fi story that I am going to write one day!
We paused to take it all in and then hit the road again with hours still ahead. More talking and singing.
At midnight, we arrived at the Maine house to learn that one of our songwriter friend's flight was held up because of the same awful weather we had encountered earlier. James, was trapped at Newark airport until 4 AM!!!! We decided to wait for him and built a fire. Sat by the lake drinking wine and singing and talking and singing and talking...
The full moon was brilliant behind us and didn't seem to move in the sky. At all. We became obsessed with the fact that it wasn't moving. And maybe we really had died on the road. Then there was some crazy animal screaming in the woods. It kept getting closer and then moving away. Sounded like a woman being murdered. We learned that answer to "What Does the Fox Say?" It isn't pretty! All very surreal.
Our hostess awoke to join us. We drank more wine as the moon continued to hover in place and the sun gently rose in the East. The whole sky lit up with an otherworldly glow (inadequately captured by the top photo). Had I not taken this photo I would think I dreamed it all. I swear the moon did not move.
James arrived only moments before the sunrise. Around when this photo was taken. We poured him a glass of wine and continued to talk and watch as the sky grew light and hit our beds at around 8 AM!
Wonderful weekend ensued. Not much sleep, but lots of music, wine and fun!
But the journey was not over. There was the drive home.
Barely two hours out of Maine, I asked Matt if we could stop to grab a lobster roll atBob's Clam Hut. Don't laugh. It's one of the best lobster rolls you can get! All good until we got back into the car. Mind you, it was about 100 F outside. A scorcher. The car wouldn't start. We looked at each other in disbelief. After many jump-start attempts by friendly Bob's Clam Hut employees and patrons, we figured out that we had a bigger problem.
Suffice it to say, I learned what an alternator is that day. After some frantic phone calls and getting towed, where did we end up?
Porstmouth, NH. Very weird. OK, so we definitely died on the road. I was now convinced. We're back in the outskirts of Portsmouth at a Ruby Tuesdays laughing about how we've died and are forever trapped in this time loop.
I don't think I've found myself in the position of needing to kill time in decades! With the car at the shop, Matt and I roamed the highway on foot weaving through the industrial zone of Portsmouth. We visited a pet store, a home goods store, and finally ended up at a Guitar Center where Matt could show off his metal chops before getting the call that the alternator had been replaced.
Now it's almost 5 PM with a LONG drive back to NYC ahead.
Once again, I was very conscious of the fact that Matt was still driving. Not much sleep over the weekend. Super hot outside, and it's late in the day and he's $700 poorer than when we started out. Poor Matt...
We hit the road, cranked up the tunes and laughed, and sang, and talked and sang as the world blurred by us.
Lost in slow motion.
Wrote the song together a few days later.
Or is it?